In practice, this means balancing the more defensive managers within the range of managers in the WealthSelect range and emphasising them for more defensive portfolios, as well as making similar tilts towards growth-orientated or income-focused managers for other mandates. A similar approach is taken on the Spectrum funds: those taking a closer look at manager selection will see the same names in each portfolio, but with different weightings according to the risk profile.
Turning to the wider multi-manager team, Mr Ventre says his team – three-quarters of which has worked together for five years or more – has grown in quality more than quantity. While this sounds like a line from a marketing brochure, the manager’s argument is one of “shorter lines of communication”.
He explains: “It doesn’t happen very often in our industry for teams to be this stable. We’ve grown a way of working together that shortens the lines of communication, and we’re able to do things faster because we know each other’s styles and ways of doing business.
“Slower thinking is often clear thinking – we try not to make snap decisions, we believe in doing the hard yards of proper analysis, but it means we’re not wasting time debating stuff that drags us back.”
But don’t mistake “slow thinking” for a slow pace of life. Asset allocation decisions are made using futures, the manager says, and data is analysed daily in order to assess its impact on the team’s views and investments.
“It’s very easy to think of multi-manager as a sleepy wealth management business, but that’s really not the way we do it,” Mr Ventre says. “[The desk is] a lot closer to the futures floor where I started”.